Mali’s coup leaders ordered soldiers to return to barracks and imposed a curfew to halt vandalism on the streets of Bamako, the capital.
The curfew will be from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Lieutenant Amadou Konare, spokesman for the National Committee for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, said yesterday on state television. All of the country’s borders are closed until further notice, he said.
Army officers yesterday said they had toppled President Amadou Toure’s government and suspended the constitution over the state’s handling of a Touareg rebellion in northern Mali. The military formed a transitional council that will organize elections and plans to restore power to a democratically elected leader, Konare said. Mali vies with Tanzania to be Africa’s third-biggest gold producer, after South Africa and Ghana.
Captain Amadou Sanogo, the head of the transitional council, said the military is committed to fighting an uprising by the ethnic Touareg Azawad National Liberation Movement as well as fighters from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in northern Mali.
Soldiers in Mali have complained about their lack of preparation and resources in a campaign to quash a two-month uprising by the Touareg separatists who are seeking autonomous rule in northern Mali. Hundreds of soldiers’ wives last month marched on the presidential palace to protest the danger their husbands are being exposed to in the military campaign.
“We will fight them to the last degree,” Sanogo said, adding that some rebel fighters have offered to join the army’s cause.
Companies including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-largest producer of the metal, and Randgold Resources Ltd., have operations in the country. Mali produced about 44 metric tons of gold in 2011.